Saturday, December 6, 2014

Saturday Smiles

I'm not sure where the last couple weeks disappeared to....seriously, has anyone seen them? Although my days seem to be a blur, my business is busy, which is a HUGE blessing! We've had snow...Thanksgiving...and I have been working on piles of projects (including: needlework finishing, custom sewing/quilting projects, cross stitch designs/models for JCS magazine, a design/model for a major quilting magazine, new designs and projects for AccuQuilt, new Blue Ribbon Designs cross stitch and quilting patterns, and Etsy pieces)...and if I can make time, I may be able to work on a few gifts before Christmas (although, doubtful - dear friends please be super patient with me - Christmas may pass me by before I come up for air!). As always, my list is long, but fortunately, I LOVE most of the tasks that need to be done...and if I didn't have my growing list, I would surely forget something...so, I apologize if my blog has seemed neglected - please know, it is on my list daily too...

Here is a quick photo tour of my blurred days...including some things that are making me smile...

A look out our back window...

Miss Schatzi LOVES the snow - she will play in it for hours...
here she is watching over me while I shovel and snow blow...

Custom sewing...

A surprise gift from a very dear friend...

The Thanksgiving chef (Travis's mother)...she made an
AMAZING meal!

Custom sewing/quilting for a customer...

Custom sewing/quilting for a customer...

Custom sewing/quilting for a customer...

Custom sewing/quilting for a customer...

Fabric inspiration - two of which are lovely gifts from friends...

My new favorite beverage cup from my "sister" in New Hampshire...
because it IS all about the squirrel...and who can't use "advice from
a squirrel"...this makes me SO happy!

So there you have it...a very quick weekend wrap-up. I'm having fun in my studio - keeping up with my dear friends and family - enjoying the winter weather...and I am even able to wear "real" shoes and walk daily again...I am happy and blessed!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up and Winners

Things have been a bit of a whirlwind this week, as I have taken on quite a few freelance jobs and custom orders...plus I have been completing more needlework finishing jobs in time for the holidays. I am knee deep in several large projects - including more designs for AccuQuilt (yay!), a new design model for a quilting magazine, several cross stitch designs/models for Just CrossStitch magazine (woohoo!), and several unique custom sewing and quilting projects for customers...oh, and the needlework finishing too! I feel very blessed to have a list of creative jobs to keep me busy...I have a prioritized list and I am steadily working through each item...and if I plan things out just right, I can make a little time for new Etsy projects (I have some really cute ideas for my shop). Someone please wave the magic wand and give me just a few more hours in each day! Here is a little peek at some of the custom needlework finishing I completed this week...

"The Sowing Sampler" designed by Lori Brechlin/Notforgotten Farm
for The Prim Sister's Club/Country Sampler
Finished into a 14" pillow...

"Warm Hearts" by The Trilogy
Finished into a hanging pillow with pom pom trim....


"Christmas Trees II" (#87) by The Prairie Schooler (thanks for the info Robin!)
Finished into a large project bag...


...and let's end today's post with a little good news for a couple of my blog visitors! My Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour Giveaway has ended and the two recipients have been contacted...

The recipient of the copy of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Vol. 10 magazine coming directly from my friends at Quiltmaker magazine is:
Lee Ann L., who commented:
Besides quilting/sewing, I enjoy cross-stitching and making beaded ornaments and jewelry. I also enjoy camping and reading.
Your block is awesome! Congrats!

The recipient of the "pre-cut block package" with all the pieces needed to make one "4 Corners of Happy" block in the same fabrics as my magazine submission, along with one copy of the magazine is:
Rachell, who commented:
oh my, right up my alley! Stars and traditional blocks, with a twist! I'm always looking to learn new skills, so adding applique to a block is great for me. I would be lucky indeed to win your prize!
I learned how to cross-stitch at a very early age, before I could use a sewing machine. I've done latch-hook rugs, a bit of toll painting, painting ornaments, and lots of other things. I sew clothes and home dec items, cross-stitch, bake, love to read, and of course I'm obsessed with quilting! I love to dance, like ballroom and latin and country.

Congratulations to the recipients....and thanks to everyone who visited my blog during the 100 Blocks Blog Tour and left a comment - I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your hobbies, pastimes, and creative endeavors!

Lastly, I thought I would share a little slideshow of some of the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks (including mine!) that Quiltmaker Magazine posted on Instagram...enjoy!

A video posted by Quiltmaker Magazine (@quiltmakermag) on

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Four Corners of Happy:
Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour

Greetings friends, fans, and blog hoppers - I am thrilled to be one of the stops on day four of Quiltmker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour. This quilty blog hop is celebrating the release of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Vol. 10...and if you are doing the math (10 volumes x 100 blocks), then you know this collector's edition marks the milestone of 1,000 original quilt blocks! To say I am excited to be a part of this special issue for the first time would be an understatement - I am such a HUGE fan, collecting the 100 block issues over the years...and I am honored to be in the company of so many quilt designers that I admire.

If you are visiting my blog for the first time - welcome! Let me introduce myself...my name is Belinda Karls-Nace (don't let the little typo in the magazine fool you, as they misspelled my last name) and I am a counted thread needlework designer, teacher, and professional finisher by trade (Blue Ribbon Designs). I picked up my first needle at the young age of six (and made my first quilt around the age of eight) and have been designing professionally in the Cross Stitch industry for over 10 years. I am completely obsessed with just about anything created with a needle and thread - and when I am not working on my original cross stitch designs, I find sheer enjoyment sewing and quilting...and in the very near future, I will be adding my sewing and quilting patterns to my brand (along with patterns that combine my love of handwork and quilting). I am an enormous AccuQuilt fan, proudly owning three of their fabric cutters and a wide assortment of cutting dies...and I am lucky enough to do some freelance designing and sample piecing/quilting for them, as well. My blog follows my creative journey - including needlework, sewing, quilting, and machine embroidery...my handcrafted Etsy items...my original designs and patterns...tips and tricks...pretty much anything that inspires me...I hope you enjoy your stay and visit often!

"4 Corners of Happy"

My original quilt block for this special issue is called "4 Corners of Happy" - it is block #944 and can be found on page 40 (and on the cover!!). My regular readers know I love to combine traditional piecing with machine appliqué, so creating this cheerful block just came naturally. This entire block is AccuQuilt GO! friendly...and for those of you wanting to take advantage of the cutting dies I used, here is a complete list:


I like to audition my original blocks in multiples, with other traditional blocks, and with solid blocks to make sure they can be versatile...I also like to design blocks that will work well in a number of colorways. This particular block just happens to be a great scrap buster block! I had fun playing with this design in EQ7 and creating several pieces to show it off...here is how it would look in a table runner...


Since this is a 12" finished block, I decided it would make a great bright and cozy pillow...I simply added 2 1/2" strips on all four sides and added an envelope back...perfect for a 16" square pillow form...







Thank you so much for visiting my blog and sharing in my enthusiasm...and as a reward, I have a couple giveaway prizes!
  • Quiltmaker Magazine is giving away a copy of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Vol. 10 magazine to one of my lucky readers...
  • I have put together one "pre-cut block package" with all the pieces needed to make one "4 Corners of Happy" block in the same fabrics as my magazine submission, along with one copy of the magazine. I die cut all the pieces on my AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter and the applique shapes even have paper-backed fusible web attached for quicker piecing...the recipient of this prize can have their block put together in no time!


NOTE: THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN CONTACTED.
For a chance to win one of these prizes, simply leave me a single comment telling me about the hobbies you enjoy - I would love to hear what types of projects you like to work on.... 
To be eligible, you must include your e-mail address or have your e-mail address visible in your profile - international entries are welcome - you must leave a comment, no e-mail entries will be accepted. The giveaway is open until 11:59 PM CST Friday, November 21, 2014 and the two prize recipients will be announced on Saturday, November 22, 2014. No prize substitutions. Good luck...

Make sure you look for Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Vol. 10, on newsstands now...it's the issue with the purple blue band across the top of the cover. To find links to all the other blog tour stops, to read all about the other 99 blocks, and to have the opportunity to win a plethora of fabulous prizes, stop by the Quiltmaker Magazine blog:
http://www.quiltmaker.com/blogs/quiltypleasures/

Thanks for stopping by - I hope you will return again soon!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Winter's Here...

It's true, winter has arrived in Iowa...bitter cold, gusts of wind, and lots of snow flurries. I thoroughly enjoy the winter scenes, but truth be told, I'm not a fan of the arctic cold...which definitely gives me a good excuse to stay inside and cozy up in my sewing studio. Recently, I had the chance to work on another large quilt sample for AccuQuilt...and this one combined traditional piecing and machine appliqué, my favorite! This is the GO! Winter's Here Sampler Quilt and it was an absolute joy to piece...and probably my favorite sample I have created for AccuQuilt to date. I had to chuckle when I was getting the details for this project and I realized I had all fourteen dies needed already in my collection...yes, I guess it is time I admit I have an addiction...

This wonderful winter quilt uses the following dies and is compatible with the GO! Baby, GO!, GO! Big, and Studio Fabric Cutters:


The finished blocks each measure 12" square...the finished size of the sampler quilt with sashing and borders is 57" x 57"...the entire quilt was cut quickly and accurately in an evening...and I can envision it in several different colorways. I did vertical curvy line quilting...which reminded me of Christmas ribbon candy when I had it complete. Oh, how I wanted to keep this quilt for my very own - I just loved it! Maybe one day I will have enough time to recreate it (a girl can dream)...



If you think this is a project you would enjoy, you can download the pattern for free for a limited time by visiting:
http://www.accuquilt.com/go-winter-s-here-sampler-quilt-1.html
I think you will be surprised how quickly and easily it comes together!

Tomorrow will be another productive day spent in my sewing studio - I have a pile of needlework finishing to complete, several custom quilting orders, and freelance design work to do...I'll be be keeping busy, happy, and warm!

Oh, and one more thing....don't forget to stop back tomorrow, Thursday, November 20th for my stop on the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour...I'll be unveiling my block and I will have a couple giveaway opportunities! Here's a little video to show you what all the excitement is about...

 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Wedding Weekend

What a wonderful weekend...my mother found true happiness again at age 68 and her wedding was on Saturday. Travis and I headed to Lake Summerset, Illinois for all the festivities and to meet our new extended family. After arriving at the lake on Friday afternoon, the celebration kicked off at GreenFire Restaurant Bar & Bakery in Rockford, IL where we had an AMAZING meal...this incredible American contemporary farm restaurant and marketplace prepares all their food in wood burning state-of-the-art brick fire ovens! - they have no microwaves, no grill tops, stoves or deep fryers on property....and they use high quality, fresh ingredients. Dinner took place in the "wine room" where we had open views of the kitchen and Travis and I had a chance to meet  the groom's family - he has three sons, all of which are married to wonderful women and have gorgeous children...and we quickly started learning names and enjoying the company and hospitality of his welcoming family. It was a lovely evening with warm conversation and incredible food...and the night just flew by! After dinner, we picked up the catering (done by the same restaurant) and the cake (which was my responsibility to get safely to their house)...and we stopped and picked up my mom's wedding gown (which a seamstress had been altering)...

Lake Summerset when we arrived....you'll understand this photo when you
get to the end of my post...

The Wine Room at Greenfire Market

The bride and groom at the rehearsal dinner...
I love this photo!

A selection on items in the bakery at Greenfire Market...
they also made the wedding cake...

Saturday, Travis and I took care of some final details for the bride and groom...taking fresh flowers (peonies, shipped from Europe) to the florist to have them made into a bridal bouquet, moving furniture for the reception, basic set-up of the reception catering, helping my mom into her gown, et cetera. Then on Saturday afternoon, we chauffeured the happy couple to the Church by the Side of the Road...a Wedding Chapel,  for the ceremony. It was a beautiful wedding and the bride and groom were giddy with happiness...no tears of joy, just huge smiles! It was a small, intimate family affair and everything was perfect. They had a professional photographer documenting every moment (and thank goodness, because the lighting wasn't the best, at least for my photos)...but I managed to snap a few with my smartphone worthy of sharing...

The Church by the Side of the Road...a Wedding Chapel before the ceremony...

The kiss...

The announcement of the happy couple...


Some of my new extended family...I managed to get a shot of all eight children together...
my mom is THRILLED to have eight grandchildren to love...

After the wedding, we headed back to their house at the lake for the reception. It was a true celebration and we had a great time...even with the snow starting to fall outside. The overjoyed newlyweds left for their honeymoon VERY early Sunday morning (a Caribbean cruise)...and Travis and I headed back to snowy, cold Iowa. Here is the last photo I snapped of the lake before we were on the road again...amazing how things can change in just a couple days....

Lake Summerset when we departed...
 I am finally back at home for awhile, and (hopefully) things should start to get back to normal...I have been at my desk playing catch-up for most of the day, but tomorrow will be filled with sewing, quilting, and stitching...as always, my to-do list is long and I feel very blessed to have custom work to do this holiday season. I'll be sharing new projects with you soon!

Friday, November 14, 2014

On The Road Again...

Treasures I gathered on the Dallas 3-Day...
I know I have only been home a couple days, but I am off again...this time to Illinois for my mother's wedding (I am just tickled that she has found love!). I am still busy playing catch-up from my trip to Dallas, so if you are waiting on correspondence from me, please be patient - I will get back to you early next week. All existing website and Etsy shop orders have shipped...and anything ordered today or tomorrow will ship on Monday....thank you for your patience. So, I am out the door again...doing my best to take care of my very sad feet (which is not easy)...I will be back next week with some very fun posts...be sure to stop by on Thursday, November 20th, as I will be one of the stops on Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour (and there will be a giveaway or two - hint, hint!)....

For now, I will leave you with some photos of the items/gifts I gathered on my Komen 3-Day trip to Dallas...and a teaser for the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour...

Team Twinkle Toes head gear...made by our fabulous team stylist, Lois...
The hat was casual wear for Friday and Saturday - the visor was formal wear
for Sunday (don't you just love the pink bird?!)...

Team Twinkle Toes evening footwear...although I must admit, I didn't wear
mine after my showers, as they were too cute to damage and it was muddy,
grassy, and wet...

The most adorable quilted camping pillow made by my tentmate Sandy...
isn't it absolutely GORGEOUS?! I love, love, LOVE it...

Beautiful heartfelt gifts from my teammates...I feel like a princess...

A wonderful handmade gift from my faraway friend Dora...and a touching
card wishing me luck on my 3-Day journey...

On newsstands November 18th! Can you guess which block is mine...
hint: it's on the cover....

Be sure to visit all the stops on the Quiltmakers 100 Blocks Blog Hop...there will
be giveaways each day...and visit me on November 20th when I unveil my block...
I am in a rush to get on the road...but I will be back again soon...enjoy your weekend!